Top 10 List of Worst HOA Bylaws
May 26, 2020
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Many people who own condos or single family residences in communal locations confess to having a love/hate relationship with their homeowners association. Sure, the HOA is great when it comes to shoveling snow off the sidewalk and keeping the pool maintained. Sometimes, though, they can seem either a little power hungry or totally insane when it comes to the rules they enforce on homeowners. Here are some of the regulations that may show up in the fine print of your HOA bylaws. Make sure you ask about HOA regulations and bylaws before you buy. Don’t get caught! 

  1. Here’s your sign. Now, remove it. Many HOAs prohibit residents from posting signs of any kind on their lawns or property. This might help neighbors get along better during election years, but it can also be a problem, especially if you are trying to sell your home.
  2. A rose is a rose is a rose. Just don’t plant too many of them. Some HOAs will limit the amount of plant life you can have on your property. They especially like to micromanage the number of rosebushes you choose to plant, as well as any shrubs or small trees lining your walkway or yard. Read your bylaws before you start shopping for fertilizer.
  3. It’s a dog eat dog world. According to MSN, a woman of a certain age was fined $25 every time she walked through the lobby of her building with her cocker spaniel, because the HOA bylaws required all dogs to be carried and not allowed to walk. Let’s hope no one in that building has a St. Bernard.
  4. If you build it, they will come. And probably force you to take it down, if it is a fence you have built without permission. Check your bylaws before you put something up.
  5. Watch your weeds. Almost all HOAs have strict rules concerning weeds, trees, hedges and general lawn care.
  6. Nonconformity is frowned upon. Especially when it comes to things like your mailbox. If you wanted to get cute with a fun mailbox design, your HOA might not appreciate your creativity. Some communities are required to have a uniform look to their mailboxes, and you will face a fine if yours is not the right color, size and material. Same thing with your garbage can.
  1. Speaking of garbage cans…. A major sticking point with some HOAs is how long you keep your garbage can outside. Your bylaws probably list a specific number of hours it can be out and visible. Make sure you do not set your trash out too soon, and do not be lazy about pulling that can back inside.
  2. No open door policy. If you have a garage, your HOA may require you to keep it closed when you are not using it to enter or exit your house.
  3. Play a lot of basketball. Just not at home. Does your HOA restrict basketball hoops? They might have rules about swing sets too. This could be the answer to your kids’ prayers for more television and video game time.
  4.  Lose the lights. If you have ideas about going all Clark W. Griswold with the holiday lights, think again. Some HOAs prohibit them altogether, and others have rules about how many and how often.